Seró: Space Transmitter of the Mound

Toni Gironès

Architect: Toni Gironès
Location: Seró, Catalonia, Spain
Date: 2007-2011 (design) | 2011-2012 (construction)
Size: 3615 m² (ext) | 503 m² (building)
Photography: Aitor Estévez | Toni Gironès

During January 2007, the construction work on one of the water distribution mains for the Segarra-Garrigues system led to the unexpected appearance of archaeological ruins from an ancient construction, dating from 4,800 years ago, in Seró (Artesa de Segre, Lleida). The most exceptional feature of this discovery was the megalithic nature of the sandstone slabs and, particularly the precision of the geometrical decorations carved on them. These stones, carved in soft relief, were in fact fragments of ancient statues from a former sculptural monument that had been reused.

Next to a square, on the land of two abandoned vegetable gardens, the new building was designed: a small cultural facility with polyvalent uses and spaces. The construction, using local materials, provided the new topography to resolve the one-floor difference in level between the square and the gardens.A succession of gentle ramps with light and shifting limits made of corrugated steel suggest the circulation flows and cover the different conditions of the new public space: a clay and dirt platform between the square and the pre-Pyrenees on the horizon, a cliff above the room where the steles are exhibited, which indicates where they were discovered…, a corner space facing westward with sunlight in the winter and green cover during the summer, benches made of recycled stones from one of the garden walls, porous paving stones that provide insulation for the roof and embrace the landscape adapting to the different seasons…, the shade of two recovered warehouses… and the memory of the former vegetable gardens with the spontaneous regrowth of chard plants.On the inside, a space dedicated to wine offers products for sale from the local cooperatives and at the same time functions as the village bar. The polyvalent room blends everyday uses as a social centre with the introduction to the exhibition area where the discovery is documented and the pieces of the megalithic tomb are displayed……Finally, we start on the path towards the millennial stones… a quadrangular spiral route with an almost imperceptible slope… surrounded by perforated ceramic pieces that let in the dim light, the air, the smells of the countryside, the fog… The light intensity begins to dampen, the ceramic paving disintegrates. When we arrive in the exhibition room the overhead lights turn our eyes toward the etched surfaces of each of the stones… Time passes in the silence of detailed contemplation, across a horizontal plane of clay powder that shows the footprints of each visitor…Quietly retracing our steps, we walk our way out with no possibility of crossing paths with others… Gradually the light and noise intensify, until the horizon of a wheat field comes to meet us and brings us back into the common agricultural landscape of the region.